Chip Hughes

2022 Sheriffs Fellow

What is your current position? 

Craven County Sheriff

What inspired you to choose this career path?

The dedicated men and women that have professionally served before me to ensure the safety and security of our nation.

How did you hear about the Claremont Institute?

By one of the most professional Sheriffs in our nation. Sheriff Mike Lewis, Wicomico County, Maryland.

What is your fondest memory of the Claremont Institute?

The time spent with likeminded Constitutional Sheriffs and the wonderful staff at The Claremont Institute.

What do you think will make The Claremont Institute Sheriffs’ Fellowship unique and relevant in the years to come?

It is already unique and very relevant. The scholars and staff that have developed this outstanding program to support and educate our Sheriffs on the importance of standing firm against those that wish to deteriorate and destroy our way of life. The Sheriffs’ Fellowship better prepares Sheriffs in our continued battle to defend our great nation.

Who would the individual be and what timeless issues would you discuss, if you could have a sit-down conversation with an historic figure from North Carolina’s founding?

Richard Dobbs Spaight, who was born in my hometown of New Bern, NC. Served in the Military, Elected to the Legislature and Governor of NC. I would certainly like to discuss his deadly duel with political rival John Stanly.

What would the artifact be, if you could hold one piece of history from the early founding of our country and why?

The drafting of the United States’ Supreme Law. Why were treason and bribery the only grounds in the draft Constitution for impeaching the president?

What qualities do you believe are necessary for effective leadership?

Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, Delegate effectively, Acknowledge your mistakes.

What do you believe is the greatest challenge currently facing the United States?

Ineffective leadership at the federal level. Case and point, our southern boarder disaster!

What book, speech, or movie has left a lasting impression on you and why?

Extreme Ownership, ret. Naval Officer who is a former member of SEAL Team 3. Every leader should be required to read this book. It argues that the best leaders take full responsibility for everything in their world: not only their actions, decisions, and failures, but also those of everyone on their team. 

Do you have a favorite quote?  Why does it resonate with you?

Yes! “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”  Ronald Reagan

As the Elected Sheriff of our county, I am charged with protecting and safeguarding the rights and freedoms of every citizen and preserving our way of life.

What is the most distinctive attribute/character of the people in North Carolina’s Craven County you genuinely admire?

The kindness and generosity of so many that live in our beautiful county. The resiliency that our citizens have shown during times of natural disasters by putting others needs ahead of their own. Craven County and its citizens are second to none!

What do you believe are the top three law enforcement issues currently facing America?

One of the biggest challenges or issues facing law enforcement is retention and recruitment within police departments and Sheriff’s Offices. Negativity surrounding law enforcement in general because of liberal cities that do not support their first responders. Funding, Public safety is extremely important, but funding for law enforcement agencies across the U.S. is constantly under fire.

What do you believe can be done to prioritize hardening soft targets in today’s volatile environment, i.e., schools? 

There is no substitution to having a well-trained professional School Resource Officer assigned to every school in your jurisdiction. SRO’s working closely with school staff to address deficiencies in school safety is paramount in protecting and safeguarding our future, our greatest assets our children.

What do the words, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” mean to you?

It means being an American and living in the greatest nation in the world. It also reminds me constantly that we all need to thank the Lord for being an American!

What would you say, If you could communicate one thing to politicians and Americans alike about the importance of policing? 

We are the first and last line of defense, we run to the fight so your family and community can sleep at night. We do not seek gratitude or recognition; we do this because of our love of our country and communities.

What brings you peace of mind at the end of a stressful day?

Knowing that my office has made a positive impact on someone’s life.